Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Junk Miles To Monte Cristo

Last month, in his review of The Cyclist's Training Bible, Piaw Na questioned the book's emphasis on avoiding "junk miles" (the miles that don't move you toward your fitness goal). Piaw wrote:

"...where is the enjoyment? Where is the part where you ride up a mountain with friends, looking forward to another beautiful day? Where is the place where you hang out with your friends at dinner, reminiscing with your companions? The book has no place for them. You are encouraged to ride alone as much as possible, lest your competitive instincts take over and you work too hard. Or perhaps your companionable instincts take over and you work too little. No wonder the serious cyclists I meet never ask if I want to go for a ride!"

I guess I'm lucky to have friends like Mark Vande Kamp and Matt Newlin, guys who think getting up before the sun is a good idea, who load up on a fatty breakfast at 7:00 AM when the Twin Eagles Cafe opens up in Snohomish and then roll north into the mountains. Our plan is vague, as is our custom, and Mark's hand-drawn map is only a suggestion.

The ranger station at Verlot has more details -- a map and photos of the various washed-out roads. Matt has never been to the ghost town of Monte Cristo and that turns out to be the deciding factor.

So it's 183 junk miles spread over a couple of days. A little bit of hike-a-bike around some rock slides, the fording of a small river, a hike around the ruins and up into the glacial basin, dinners cooked back at camp and solving the problems of the world until darkness reminds us all it's time to sleep. Sunday's investment in slow climbing returns miles of coasting on Monday.

It's important to have goals and one of my goals is to make sure I always have time for junk miles.

Keep 'em rolling.

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